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Immunizations: Helping to Build Healthy and Strong Wisconsin Communities

woman administering vaccine to another woman

How Vaccines Keep You and Your Loved Ones Safe

By Jennifer Footit-Tank, quality care coordinator at Network Health

We are all concerned about safety for ourselves and our loved ones. We wear seat belts and use car seats, watch our diets and make sure we exercise and have a yearly physical. These minor inconveniences work together to keep us safe and healthy throughout the year.

Another important way we can help keep ourselves and our communities safe is by receiving immunizations for common infectious diseases. Also known as vaccines, immunizations prevent widespread outbreaks of the flu, measles, polio, hepatitis and more. These diseases can infect those with compromised immune systems or other health factors, making them potentially lethal.

Diseases that had lifelong effects a few decades ago are now better controlled or nearly eliminated with regularly scheduled vaccines. 

How Do Vaccines Work?

Vaccines give your body just enough exposure to a virus to learn how to fight it without the opportunity to contract the disease.

The goal of the vaccine is to help your immune system develop the antibodies you need to fight off a virus from the point of exposure.

Are Vaccines Safe?

Yes. Available vaccines have gone through careful and extensive review by the medical community to ensure their effectiveness and safety. The long development process, which includes multiple rounds of testing and escalating trial levels, is why medical experts think it may be until early next year before we have a vaccine approved for COVID-19 and the coronavirus.

Multiple organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics support vaccine use as part of individual and community preventive care. While safe, some vaccines may have side effects of localized tenderness, redness or fever. Your personal doctor will let you know about possible side effects when you receive the immunization.

How do Vaccines Keep Our Communities Healthy and Strong?

Immunizations help protect others. Vaccinated people protect others who are too young to be vaccinated or have weakened immune systems sometimes caused by cancer or organ transplant.

Herd immunity is a term you may have heard associated with vaccines. Herd immunity is a threshold a community needs to hit where a virus can no longer spread to an outbreak level due to the number of immunized individuals in that community.

With certain segments of our community (such as older people, young children, those with compromised immune systems and pregnant women) unable to receive vaccinations, doing our part to help protect these people by getting vaccinated turns a small inconvenience into a life-saving choice.

What Vaccines Do I Need?

When we hear about vaccines we often think of babies and toddlers. Preteens, young adults, working adults, retirees and older adults are all on the immunization schedule as well. Certain vaccines need to be re-administered in order to remind the immune system to continue to build antibodies for specific diseases. Some diseases, like the flu, require annual vaccines to ensure protection against the newest strain.

There can be up to 10 years between boosters, such as tetanus. Speaking with your personal doctor during your annual wellness visit will ensure you receive the right vaccines at the right time.


Keeping track of your immunizations through your doctor’s office, your own documents or the internet-based Wisconsin Immunization Registry (WIR) will help to ensure you stay on track.

You may want to document the dates of your immunizations and which ones you received. Knowing when immunizations were received is also important for children who attend school, a young adult attending college or an adult with a significant injury.

Keeping Ourselves, Our Friends and Our Neighbors Healthy and Strong is a Lifelong Commitment

Autumn is fast approaching which is a reminder to think about receiving your flu shot. This is a great time to ask your personal doctor or pharmacist any questions you may have about immunizations or if you are due for others.

If you’re looking for information on how your Network Health plan can help you get the most out of the season and do your part to limit the spread of dangerous infections, contact us today.

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